Running your soccer training / football training session

When working with young people the first ten minutes of soccer training / football training will be a nightmare as they all tend to come to soccer training / football training in a hyperactive state. They will have been cooped up in school all day and they won’t have seen some of their team mates all week so will want to catch up. As a coach you need to get them back in line as quickly as possible and focused on soccer training / football training. This is why warming up is so important as not only does it get the body ready it gets the players minds focused on the rest of soccer training / football training.

Young people like to question everything so every time you explain a new soccer drill / football drill you will get players asking you why they have to do it and what are they getting out of it. Players always think they know best and think they are too good to do the soccer drills / football drills you set up so it is up to you to get them to do them, do them properly and learn what they are getting out of it. If you let the players dictate to you once what you are going to do then they will be trying to dictate for the rest of the season and just doing what they please. If you ask a player what they want to do nine times out of ten they will say a match but just having matches every week at soccer training / football training isn’t going to help them learn and develop. Having a game for a small part of the soccer training / football training session can be a good thing as long as it is done in a controlled way and you as a coach are dictating like playing games where players can only take two touches or encouraging them to get it wide and get crosses in.

If you don’t have an assistant coach, trying to manage your whole squad at soccer training / football training can be hard. All it takes is for one of your players to be having a bad week to bring down everyone around them. If a player is out of line you have to step on it as quickly as possible but in a way which doesn’t stop others from training as if you spend too long trying to sort out one player it affects the time you have for the rest of the team.

Players are more likely to mess around at soccer training / football training than on a game day. When you are at soccer training / football training the game seems so far away from training and many players don’t stop to think that you may base your decision on who is going to play in the game on who does well at soccer trainig / football training.

The important thing to do in training is to not talk too much. If you only have a short amount of time it is more important that your players get time on the ball rather than talking about it. So save your big talks for after soccer trainng / football training or for before and after games. If you are doing a lot of talking the players will become disinterested, disruptive and switch off to what you are saying. Explain the soccer drills / football drills and what you are doing but let your players get on with it without trying to over explain it. Then when the soccer drills / football drills are in progress you can go round individually to players and coach them whilst they are doing the soccer drills / football drills.

Soccer training / football training is where you build discipline into your team. If you want your players to respect you and listen to you during games it’s when you are running your soccer drills / football drills where you win that attention and respect. If you don’t have respect and attention for match days it makes your job that much harder. Soccer training / football training is about getting your team into a routine. A regime, if you will. Young people need routine in order to dedicate themselves to something and to focus on it.

The parents of your players may want to come and watch training. Now as a coach that’s your call whether or not you let them stay or encourage them to stay. Some coaches like the players to have no distractions whereas some like to see the support shown by the parents and think it will give the players a boost. Whichever way you decide it has to be one rule for everybody with no exceptions.

As a coach if you are unsure of how to run a soccer training / football training session go and have a look at how others are doing it and take the bits you like and incorporate them in to your soccer training / football training. Look at what professional clubs and other youth clubs are doing. Also look at other sports for tips on different training methods and fitness regimes which you can adapt for football. The key thing is finding what works for your team and then if it’s not broke don’t try and change it. Keep up to date on the latest soccer training / football training methods but be aware that what is considered good or bad and right or wrong to do in training will change on a regular basis. If you paid attention to all of these changes it would see you changing techniques every week.

Extracts taken from ‘A guide to surviving youth football’ by Adam Sibley. Visit for more information

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